The twelve studio album by Enslaved was declared both by most of the fans and critics “a classic” and a “masterpiece” even before some of them had the chance to listen it. It’s kind of comfortable and alarming simultaneously, on the other hand, yes, Enslaved is one of those bands you always can relay on, they are constantly there “to pushing the envelope” and “cutting the edge”, breaking down walls and wider the horizon. And yes, “RIITIIR” picking up from where they left off with “Axioma Ethica Odini” in 2010 and pushing things further. Some things are stay the same, this is Enslaved 100%, as well as they are still capable to generate new ideas and explore new possibilities, but staying in their own backyard, giving their fans the comfort of the modern Enslaved sounds and trademarks.
Between ferocious growls, deadly screams and cleanly sung choruses Grutle Kjellson find the perfect proportions and balance; Black and Death metal fueled riffs are switched to smooth acoustic moments; Enslaved seems to be still on a perpetual journey and not getting yet to destination and this make this journey exciting, fresh and surprising.
Enslaved knows to grind you brutally into the ground and in the very next moment embrace you kindly with a melodious, sometimes religiously enlightening moment only to hit you again right in your face. This is an endless race of unleashed fury and reconciliation, a struggle of good and evil. The latest Pink Floyd/King Crimson inspired elements are now completely integrated in the Enslaved arsenal, and Black Metal making a perfect pair for Progressive Rock. This is the key, the Magic of Enslaved. They kept their roots of Black Metal from their ’94 debut “Vikingligr Veldi” alive and constantly added to this different colours and new elements to enriched their sound, expense their patrimony.
“RIITIIR” it’s the longest album of Enslaved’s career, running 67 minutes, and except the title track which is “only” five and half minutes long, only three of its eight tracks don’t break eight minutes while the closing “Forsaken” jumps over eleven minutes.
This is a quite solid album with some outstanding tracks as “Roots Of The Mountain”, “Thoughts Like Hammers”, “Forsaken” and the twisted “Materal” where the verses are gloomy and melodious while the chorus is a bloody Black massacre. But there is a permanent balance and tension which running throughout the album and keeps the listener focused and captive. Every song, every shift and break, every passage seems to be bricks, pieces of a great, conscious construction and Enslaved are the Master Architects of this Universe.
This is the best Enslaved album? Hard to tell, but definitively one of the extremely solid, complex and totally Enslaved ones. Quite addictive, hard to stop listening to it. And more you listening, you get more addicted.
01. Thoughts Like Hammers (9:30)
02. Death In The Eyes Of Dawn (8:17)
03. Veilburner (6:46)
04. Roots Of The Mountain (9:16)
05. RIITIIR (5:26)
06. Materal (7:48)
07. Storm Of Memories (8:58)
08. Forsaken (11:15)
Enslaved are: Grutle Kjellson (Vocals & Bass), Ivar Bjørnson (Guitars & FX), Ice Dale (Guitars), Herbrand Larsen (Keyboards & Vocals), and Cato Bekkevold (Drums).